CLINTON — For the second time in as many weeks, East Central Community College dropped a heartbreaker to nationally-ranked Northwest Mississippi.

This time, the loss ended the season for the Warriors.

East Central let a 14-point lead get away in the second half, and the Warriors dropped an 88-84 decision to the Rangers in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament quarterfinals on the campus of Mississippi College.

The Warriors finished 17-10 in their first season under coach Steve Hampton. Northwest, which is No. 2 in the nation, improved to 27-2.

East Central led 43-37 at halftime, then quickly turned that advantage into a double-digit lead in the second half. The Warriors were up 66-52 with 12 minutes remaining, but it didn’t take the Rangers long to rally.

Northwest came storming back and eventually took the lead on a basket by Tarrell Wilson with 1:59 left.

Wilson scored 17 points, Adrian Banks pumped in 27 and Shawn Morgan tallied 19 points to lead Northwest.

Johnny Hodge led East Central with a game-high 30 points. Pierre Barlow scored 14, while Coshune Bingham and Jacques Jones each chipped in nine points.

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